Tennis: Big boost in Australian Open prize money

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley (centre) at the Australian Open 2020 Ballkid squad reveal at Melbourne Park, on Dec 17, 2019.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley (centre) at the Australian Open 2020 Ballkid squad reveal at Melbourne Park, on Dec 17, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Big pay rises are in store for players at January's Australian Open with organisers on Tuesday (Dec 24) announcing a 13.6 per cent boost in the total purse to A$71 million (S$66.6 million).

The winners of the men's and women's titles at the first Grand Slam of the year will both take home A$4.12 million, only a small increase from a year ago.

But players beaten in earlier rounds do much better.

Anyone crashing out in round one will receive A$90,000, up 20 per cent, while second round players get a 21.9 per cent hike to A$128,000.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said every round would enjoy double-digit percentage increases, bar the finalists.

"This year, as we do every year, we worked with the tours to establish the weighting for prize money increases round-by-round, and we pushed to reward players competing early in the tournament in both singles and doubles," he said.

"We strongly believe in growing prize money at all levels of the game and we will continue to work with the playing group to create viable career paths in the sport and enable more players to make more money."

Prize money has increased 61.4 per cent over the last five years, broadly in line with other the Grand Slams.

The Australian Open gets under way at Melbourne Park on Jan 20.